Fort Lupton offers required wastewater update

Steve Smith
ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/9/22

The city of Fort Lupton provided a required update on its wastewater plant project as part of its efforts to get funding from the State Revolving Fund and the U.S. Department of …

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Fort Lupton offers required wastewater update

Posted

The city of Fort Lupton provided a required update on its wastewater plant project as part of its efforts to get funding from the State Revolving Fund and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Public Works Director Roy Vestal said the hour-long Aug. 8 meeting also had to include an environmental assessment.

Burns & McDonnell, the design firm, is preparing an environmental assessment for submission sometime next month. Vestal said the city and the Colorado Department of Transportation are working on the required utility permit to install the water line on the easternmost side of U.S. Highway 85’s right of way.

Pros and cons

The total outlay for the upgrades sits at $1.5 million, according to notes from the Aug. 8 meeting. Vestal outlined the pros and cons for upgrading the plant.

“The pro … is having a known timeline,” he said. “The city will remain in control of the plant. The pros for connecting to the Metro (Wastewater) District is the city gets to transfer regulation risk to them, the city will have economy of scale and the Metro District includes a pretreatment program.”

The flip side, according to Vestal, is the city won’t know about future regulations. He cited new regulations for standards for surface water that could impact the second phase of construction. There’s also the question of unknown, ongoing maintenance.

‘The cons for connecting to the Metro District are the requirement for an extension on the city’s compliance schedule, potential challenges with acquiring right-of-way easements,” Vestal told the forum. “The eight miles of pipeline could pose a risk for damage, and the Water Court would reassign a discharge location.”

At present, Vestal said, the city gets a benefit from discharges “because the water received is reusable and is counted toward the city’s augmentation.”

The best option to connect to the district is along Weld County’s right of way on U.S. Highway 85, Vestal told the panel. He called it “the most cost-effective and (has) an extremely low risk of having to move the line.”

“There are an estimated 2,800 total taps,” Vestal said at the Aug. 8 forum. “The city is hoping to pay the Metro District before the end of 2022 to lock in a better price. The cost for the lift station has gone down since the estimate. This is due to Burns & McDonnell’s design allowing reuse of most of the current plant.” The initial cost is about $40 million.

Vestal also discussed payment options

“Using plant investment and tap fees from new construction will help even out the costs and make it less of a burden for the citizens on their utility bills,” he said. “There is a potential to raise the Reg 85 (the rule that regulates nitrogen, phosphorus and chlorophyll in the state’s surface waters) fee in the chance the city does not get the projected amount of builder fees.”

The city has until Aug. 15 to apply for bonds. Bonds are due to be on the market in October and will become available in December.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment mandated that cities, including Fort Lupton, take steps to get rid of high amounts of phosphorus in the wastewater. The initial cost for upgrading the plant (2020 figures) was between $38 million and $42 million.

Mayor Pro Tem Chris Ceretto and councilpersons Bruce Fitzgerald,. Valerie Blackston, Claud Hanes and David Crespin were in attendance Aug. 8. So were Vestal, City Administrator Chris Cross and assistant city clerk Kaela Friedland. The city plans to begin work in January and finish in June 2024.

City of Fort Lupton, Fort Lupton wastewater plant, required wastewater upgrades, Burns & McDonnell

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